Previous standoff foreshadows double murder in Morganton

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – A community was shocked to hear the news of a double murder in the small town of Morganton, Ga. The victims Amber Jackson, a young mother, and her child, 3 year old Ethan Jackson were found deceased from gunshot wounds on the front steps of an apartment residence located off of Underwood Road.

Also at the scene was accused murderer Joshua Fults, ex boyfriend of Amber Jackson. Fults was found suffering from what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation deemed an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound”.

Fults was arrested at the scene by deputies with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and transported via flight to a medical facility where for days he remained in critical condition.

Little is known of the events that transpired on March 4, and with the news that accused killer Fults had succumbed to his injuries and passed away on March 12, it is likely that not many details of that evening will ever be revealed.

Fannin County, Georgia, Morganton, Underwood Road, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, GBI, Double Murder, Suicide, Amber Jackson, Ethan Jackson, Joshua Fults, McCaysville Police Department, Deputy, Investigator, Patrolman, Bramlett, Brackett, Petty, Stanely, Arp, Dane Kirby, Michael Early, Peardon, Domestic Violence, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Amber Jackson and son, Ethan Jackson, were the victims of a double murder that took place in Morganton, Ga.

Police reports obtained from the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and the McCaysville Police Department shed light into the psyche of Fults and the pattern of events that led up to that fatal evening in March.

A call was placed to 911 in the afternoon hours of June 30, 2018 and the subsequent events following that call may have been a foreshadowing of the tragedy that would later unfold.

According to 911 dispatch, Jackson placed a call fearing for her safety and that of her then 2 year old boy. Jackson told 911 operators that Fults had a violent past and had become violent with her on the Sunday prior to this event.

Fannin County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene and while in route Sgt. Bramlett was contacted by the McCaysville Police Department to see if assistance was needed.

Due to the McCaysville Police Department being in closer proximity to the incident, Bramlett told Patrolman Brackett and Sgt. Petty to proceed.
Brackett and Petty were first to arrive on the scene. The officers saw Fults sitting on the front porch of the residence, blocking the front door and holding a large hunting knife. As they approached, Fults looked at them and said, “Do not come any closer.”

Brackett and Petty chose at this point to stay back and Brackett began to speak with Fults in an attempt to deescalate the situation. While Brackett engaged Fults, Petty seeing the severity of the situation, radioed for additional law enforcement and an ambulance.

“I just want to die today,” Fults yelled to Brackett when questioned why he was doing this.

Brackett described Fults holding the knife to his wrist and his neck, threatening to kill himself: “Mr. Fults at times would calm down and then at times would become enraged and yell at me.”

Sgt. Bramlett and Lt. Stanley from the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office arrived next on the scene, and devised a plan with the McCaysville officers to get Jackson and her child out of the house.

“I continued to keep Mr. Fults’ attention,” Brackett described the actions taken while fellow officer Stanley was able to make his way to the back of the house and escort the two victims out of the residence and to safety.

The officers noted that Fults remained unaware during this time that his ex girlfriend and her child were no longer in the home.
Additional law enforcement arrived on the scene, including Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Arp.

With Fults becoming more agitated by the presence of the officers, a decision was made for the use of non-lethal weapons in hopes of bringing the standoff to an end.

“Upon Inv. Arp’s arrival, a plan was made to have Inv. Arp go around through the woods and get behind Josh,” Bramlett explained the decision and the plan that officers laid out, “Lt. Stanley was going to drive Amber’s mom’s vehicle to the residence and when Josh went to the vehicle, Inv. Arp would use the bean bag to distract Josh to get close enough to use a taser.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Morganton, Underwood Road, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, GBI, Double Murder, Suicide, Amber Jackson, Ethan Jackson, Joshua Fults, McCaysville Police Department, Deputy, Investigator, Patrolman, Bramlett, Brackett, Petty, Stanely, Arp, Dane Kirby, Michael Early, Peardon, Domestic Violence, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Mugshot of Joshua Fults from previous encounters with Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

Arp was able to gain the tactical position he had hoped for, and Brackett convinced Fults to put the knife down and begin to approach the officers. As Fults approached, Arp shot 3 rounds of bean bags.

When seeing that the bean bag rounds had no effect on Fults, officers then employed the use of 4 tasers. The tasers also had no effect and despite being rushed by law enforcement Fults was able to make it back to his previous position and regain control of the large knife he had laid down.

Deputy Peardon with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office recalled that “the male subject stated that he drank a 12 pack of alcohol prior to this incident” and this could partially account for why the non-lethal weapons had no effect.

“Mr. Fults would scrape the knife across his neck and did superficially scrape his skin causing it to bleed,” Brackett said explaining Fults actions once the knife was back in his possession.

Officers spoke with Amber Jackson at this point to see if she would be willing to have a conversation with Fults “in an attempt to bring a peaceful end to the situation”. Jackson agreed.

Surrounded by law enforcement and a distance away from Fults, Jackson waited while Fults agreed to put down the knife and kick it toward the officers. Once the knife was secured, Fults approached Jackson and spoke with her.

According to multiple statements from law enforcement on the scene, Jackson agreed to let Fults hug her and urged him to go to the hospital to get help. Fults agreed to Jackson’s pleas and told law enforcement that he would cause no further chaos and would cooperate allowing them to transport him.

Fults voluntarily got in the back of a patrol car and law enforcement proceeded to take him to Fannin Regional Hospital for evaluation, but the ride became riddled with numerous stops as Fults once again became combative.

The first stop, while en-route, came about when Fults complained of getting sick. Officers pulled over and accommodated him by giving him a paper bag for his nausea.

Getting back on track, officers had to pull over a second time when Fults removed his belt in the back seat of the patrol car and attempted to hang himself.

“Mr. Fults was extremely strong and fought,” Brackett recalls having to forcibly remove the belt from Fults possession. It was at this time that Fults was handcuffed and put in leg restraints.

Law enforcement continued on from the second stop and made their way to Fannin Regional, but by the time they arrived Fults had become more agitated and had managed to remove himself from the “leg hobble” and was choking himself with the handcuffs.

“He was still resisting inside the ER,” Peardon said of Fults arrival to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, Fults laid on the ground and refused to stand up. A bed was wheeled outside and officers were able to get Fults restrained. Fults was then sedated and released to the hospital.

While this incident was the most detailed and involved, it was not isolated. Fannin County Sheriff’s Office has responded multiple times to complaints involving Fults, including another 911 call made by Jackson in Sep. 2018 where again Fults was threatening suicide.

According to the North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network (NGMCN), a local charitable organization for survivors of domestic and sexual assault, “domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior or coercive control in any relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another”.

​NGMCN states on their website : ***If you are currently in a domestic violence or sexual assault situation and require immediate attention, please call 911 for assistance. When the immediate crisis is over we will be here to support you in safety planning, counseling referrals, temporary shelter, and other individualized services.***​

You can reach North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network by calling 706-632-8400.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website states, “We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals”.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

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Double murder in Morganton. Suspect in custody.

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is now releasing the names of the victims of a double murder that took place on Monday, March 4 in Morganton, Ga.

Fannin County, Georgia, Morganton, Underwood Road, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, GBI, Double Murder, Suicide

(Left) Victims Amber Jackson and son Ethan Jackson (Right) Alleged shooter Joshua Fults

The Fannin County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the GBI upon responding to a 911 call of shots fired on Underwood Road.

According to the press release, 31 year old Amber Jackson and her son, three year old Ethan Jackson, were found on the front steps of Underwood Apartments deceased from gun shot wounds.

Jackson’s boyfriend, Joshua Lee Fults, age 35 was also at the residence “suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound”.

Fults was arrested on the scene and transported via life flight to a medical facility where he remains in critical condition.

Fults is facing an arrest warrant for the murder of Amber Jackson which has already been taken to the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office. More charges are expected to follow.

FetchYourNews will bring you the latest updates in this developing case.

 

GBI and Fannin County Sheriff’s Office Investigate Double Murder Press Release

Morganton, GA (March 5, 2019) – On Monday, March 4, 2019, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by the Fannin County Sheriff to assist in the investigation of a double murder occurring at 300 Underwood Road, Apartment 3A, Morganton, Fannin County, GA. The initial investigation revealed that Fannin County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call of shots fired at the Underwood Road address. Upon arrival, deputies discovered Amber Jackson, 31, and her son, Ethan Jackson, 3, deceased on the front steps of the residence from apparent gunshot wounds. Jackson’s boyfriend, Joshua Lee Fults, age 35, was located on the porch of the residence suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies arrested Fults at the scene and he was transported to a medical facility where he remains in critical condition. At this time, an arrest warrant charging Fults with the murder of Amber Jackson has been taken by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office. Additional charges are expected.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Grand Jury indicts those accused in McKinney murder

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – A Grand Jury made up of 20 members convened on Feb. 20 and officially indicted those accused in the conspiracy to murder Justin McKinney.

Testimony regarding the findings of the investigation was presented to the Grand Jury. Among those to testify were special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), law enforcement with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department, members of Fannin County’s Emergency Services, and staff from the GBI Crime Lab.

The witness list also included personal testimony from victim Anna Franklin, roommate Donald Majors and co-defendant Lakota Cloer.
After hearing testimony, the Grand Jury found that enough evidence was presented to indict each individual that had previously been detained in connection with the murder with a number of charges.

Trials for the accused are expected to move forward with the following charges for each individual:

***In the case of all charges the accused are being charged “individually and as parties concerned in the commission of a crime”***

Stephan Blake Dickey a.k.a. Dye

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Hunter Nicholas Hill

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Dalton Levi Manuel

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Kevin Jack Chamaty

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Michael Chase Havard

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

1 count Malice Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
1 count Felony Murder
1 count Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony
5 counts Aggravated Assault
1 count Aggravated Battery
2 counts Home Invasion in the First Degree
1 count Burglary in the First Degree
1 count Tampering with Evidence
1 count Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

 

Lakota Ricky Cloer

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, Grand Jury, Brian Steel, Indictment, Malice Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Felony Murder, Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Home Invasion in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Tampering with Evidence

Cloer has already pled guilty to the lesser charges of two counts Aggravated Assault and one count Robbery by Intimidation. As part of the plea deal Cloer faces a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

Cloer recently turned 17 years old and according to Georgia law is no longer considered a minor. Sources tell FetchYourNews that Cloer was moved from the juvenile facility housing him to a state prison on his birthday.

 

 

 

The Charges Explained:

The charge of Malice Murder is in direct relation with the shooting death of Justin McKinney. In the state of Georgia malice murder means the intent to take a life without legal justification or mitigation. In this case the State does not need to prove a motive in order to obtain a conviction but instead will attempt to show that the person accused deliberately intended to take another person’s life.

Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony is in relation to the shooting of victim Anna Franklin. By discharging a firearm in her direction and ultimately wounding her, the accused are being charged with the intent to commit a specific crime. In this case the intent was to commit malice murder.

Felony Murder of Justin McKinney. Felony murder charges are brought about when the accused commit the offense of murder while in the process of engaging in other felony related offences. The State alleges in this case of felony murder that the following felony offences were taking place: Home Invasion, Burglary in the First Degree, Aggravated Assault, and Criminal Attempt to Commit Armed Robbery.

The State also brought charges of Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony. This charge is in relation to the intent of the accused specifically planning and attempting to carry out Armed Robbery. This charge is further laid out in the accused’s premeditation of the event and the steps taken to carry out the crime.

Each defendant has been charged with five counts of Aggravated Assault. Each count is in direct relation with the crimes committed against both Justin McKinney and Anna Franklin and focuses on the use of firearms.

The Aggravated Battery count pertains to Anna Franklin and how essentially her body was rendered “useless” due to the gun shot she received that went through her arm and lodged in her neck.

The two counts of Home Invasion in the First Degree charges the defendants with entering the Franklin home without authority and with intent of forcible felony. This count explains that the accused entered the home with deadly weapons with intent to commit Armed Robbery.

Burglary in the First Degree is a similar charge to the Home Invasion in the First Degree in that it claims the accused entered the dwelling with intent of Armed Robbery and in possession of deadly weapons.

By conspiring to commit Armed Robbery with the intent to also commit murder, all five defendants face a count of Violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The state shows that through the accused’s actions there was a pattern of conspiracy and criminal activity.

According to the federal law, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

The three defendants charged with Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony are Dye, Hill, and Manuel. The counts claim Dye possessed a Rossi 410 shotgun, Hill was in possession of Grendel Inc. p-12 .380 handgun, and Manuel carried an Excam .25 caliber handgun.

Lastly Chamaty and Havard face charges of Tampering with Evidence by abetting Dye, Hill, and Manuel in the removal and concealing of the weapons used in the crime.

Follow FetchYourNews for the latest information involving the case. You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by clicking the links below.

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
$50,000 Bond Set for Chamaty and Havard in Connection with the Murder of Justin McKinney

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

$50,000 bond set for Chamaty and Havard in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – “What I am going to do here, is I am going to set bond at $50,000,” Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made her ruling and granted bond for Michael Chase Havard age 20 and Kevin Jack Chamaty age 20, both of whom have been charged in connection with the murder and Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin.

The terms of the bond are strict with both men being required constant supervision and a host of stipulations that if not followed will result in immediate arrest.

The courtroom was packed in Pickens County as the two young men each had lawyers present their case for being allowed bond.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee recounted the events that led to the arrest of Havard and Chamaty in a written statement given by Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Defense Attorney Brian Steel presents the case for bond to be granted for his client Kevin Jack Chamaty.

According to Abercrombie both men knew of the conspiracy to murder and rob McKinney and aided in the act by providing gas and rides the night of the incident on Dec. 4, 2018 and also helped in disposing of one of the weapons used in the crime.

The GBI learned of the young men’s involvement after Havard voluntarily came forward and spoke with investigators about his knowledge and the roles that he and Chamaty played in the events surrounding the case.

Chris Hyde, Chamaty’s stepfather, was first to take the stand. Questioned by Defense Attorney Brian Steel, Hyde was firm in his belief that if granted bond Chamaty would return to court to face trial: “I believe 100 percent he would return, without hesitation.”

While Hyde is no longer married to Chamaty’s mother, Christy Hyde, Christy still resides in the home with Hyde and is currently serving 15 years probation for a methamphetamine and weapons charge in 2015. It was pointed out that Chamaty’s mother is serving under the First Time Offenders Act.

Gerald Patterson, who resides with Chamaty’s grandmother Rachel Newman, also took the stand to testify on behalf of Chamaty receiving bond.

Patterson who has resided with Newman for approximately 5 years, spoke of his belief that Chamaty does not pose a threat to the community, and like Hyde was willing to “put up his wealth” as a guarantee.

Sosebee took the court off guard as she questioned Patterson: “Is this the same Ms. Newman (Chamaty’s grandmother) that was convicted in 1990 of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of her ex husband?”

“Yes ma’am it is,” Patterson replied to Sosebee’s question.

Chamaty, himself, does have a prior record with law enforcement, but the nature of his charges were never fully disclosed in court. Despite Chamaty having a family with a history of run ins with the law, many supporters were present for the young man.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

The gallery stood to show their support of Chamaty and Havard.

After testimony from Hyde and Patterson, neither of whom have criminal backgrounds, Defense Attorney Steel turned to the courtroom gallery and asked those there to support Chamaty to please stand: “If you would do me a courtesy, if you would please stand in your place if you have come here today to support bond being granted for Mr. Chamaty.”

Approximately 30 people rose and remained standing as they testified their belief that Chamaty would in fact return to court and does not pose a threat to the community. Chamaty became visibly emotional during this phase.

“Nobody is in any way diminishing the loss of life for any person or living creature, but here we stand before the court in a position where Mr. Chamaty is cloaked with the presumption of innocence,” Steel concluded his case and pointed to the fact that Chamaty had followed a legal process in dealing with this case thus far and had voluntarily turned himself in.

Sosebee argued for the court to deny bond questioning why a 20 year old would be living with a 16 year old (Lakota Cloer : co-defendant in the case) and pointing to lack of accountability by the family prior to the incident.

“There are several juveniles in this court right now,” Sosebee said explaining that Chamaty’s pattern of behavior was likely not to change. “As a matter of fact we have the sister of Lakota Cloer who present in the gallery now, here in support of Mr. Chamaty. The connections, the continuation that Mr. Chamaty has with the witnesses in this case have not ceased.”

Sosebee added that while Chamaty had voluntarily turned himself, he had also “voluntarily facilitated the commission of those acts” in the crimes he is alleged to have participated in on Dec. 4.

Ultimately, Weaver granted bond set at $50,000. Along with this bond, Chamaty must be under constant supervision from Mr. Hyde including going to work.

“Mr. Hyde now has a shadow on him,” Weaver said of her ruling, “I am putting the burden on Mr. Hyde.”

Chamaty will be under house arrest and only allowed to leave with Mr. Hyde for work, church, medical or legal appointments. Chamaty will also be subjected to random drug testing in which he must call every morning to find out if he will be tested that day.

No contact with victims or co-defendants including co-defendant’s families will be allowed, and a curfew of 8 p.m. is set in place. Both Hyde and Patterson put up their personal property to insure the bond.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Havard and Chamaty sit with their attorneys awaiting Weaver’s decision to grant bond.

Havard’s terms of bond were very similar to the parameters set in place by Weaver for Chamaty’s bond.

Havard’s father, Chris Havard, spoke on his son’s behalf. He explained that his son had contacted him regarding the events that took place on Dec. 4 and that he had advised his son to go to the police in which Havard did almost immediately.

Havard, after speaking with investigators, then went to stay with his father who resides in Raleigh, Nc. According to Chris Havard, “I decided to pick him up and bring him to Raleigh.”

When the young man was informed of a warrant out for his arrest, Chris Havard made arrangements for his son to voluntarily turn himself in: “I personally drove him there (back to Fannin County).”

Havard’s father explained that while he would like for his son to return with him to North Carolina if granted bond, he understood that that might not be possible and had made arrangements for his son to live with his grandmother in Ellijay, Ga.

Diane Conway, Havard’s grandmother took the stand to confirm that she would take responsibility upon Havard’s release.

Conway admitted to being very upset by the events that have taken place but still would do anything to help her grandson: “I believe in him.”

Despite her belief in her grandson, she also has a firm belief in the law and when questioned whether she understood that if Havard violated any of the terms of the bond that he would be placed under custody she nodded and replied, “I would report him,” and added “He’s just going to have to go with me wherever I go. I have no problem with it.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Chamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, 20 year old, bond, $50,000, Brian Steel

Judge Weaver expressed her thoughts on the responsibility of all involved in the case.

“If he’s to work, I don’t know how I would do that. I would just have to keep him at home with me,” Conway did express concern about being unable to supervise him on a job.

The court handed down the same stipulations of bond that were set forth for Chamaty with the exception that the bond could be amended if Havard gained employment and at a minimum would be required to where an electronic monitoring device while at work.

Both Conway and Chris Havard put up personal property to insure Havard’s bond. All insurances by both families will need to be approved by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office prior to release.

The bond issued will also cover any further charges that might be handed down by a Grand Jury.

Judge Weaver shared her thoughts on the circumstances surrounding the McKinney murder case: “Frankly, I’m just not real happy with the parents or grandparents of any of these children. In every one of these defendants, these children were basically let go their entire life. Which we don’t do that as parents.”

“None of this should have ever occurred because somebody should have known where these kids were,” Weaver continued to address the court, “That’s not how you raise children. I think every bit of this could have been prevented if the parents were just exercising what they should be doing as parents to begin with, which is knowing where there children are on a school night at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

All suspects are expected to face a Grand Jury soon in Fannin County and move forward to trial.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County
Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County
Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case
McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin
“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution
Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer
40 Years To Serve 15: Cloer Accepts Plea Deal in McKinney Murder Case
Two Adults Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Two adults have now been arrested in McKinney Murder Case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two more have been arrested in the McKinney murder case.


Twenty year old Michael Chase Havard and twenty year old Kevin Jack Chamaty. Both individuals are being charged with murder.


Attention was first drawn to Havard and Chamaty when Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie testified at an initial appearance and bond hearing for the juveniles also charged in the case.

(Left to Right) Kevin Jack Chamaty (Age :20) and Micheal Chase Havard (Age :20) have been charged in connection with the murder of Justin McKinney.


According to Abercrombie another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.


Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.


Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Chamaty, who resided at Lakota Cloer’s residence on Dec. 3. Cloer who had been charged in the McKinney murder accepted a plea deal in which he will have to serve 15 years behind bars.


It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hunter Hill, Blake Dickey, both of which have been charged with the murder of Justin McKinney and assault of Anna Franklin, along with Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.


According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.


Havard declined and left with friend Chamaty to go to Walmart. Chamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.


Havard and Chamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.


Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Chamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.


As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.


Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Chamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.


“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Donald Majors, a third resident who was present at the Franklin home where McKinney had been murdered.


The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.
Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.


Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Chamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.


Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.


FetchYourNews will keep you up-to-date as further details emerge surrounding the McKinney Murder Case.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

40 years to serve 15: Cloer accepts plea deal in McKinney murder case

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – There was a noticeable absence at the preliminary hearing that was held regarding the death of Justin McKinney and the deadly assault of Anna Franklin.

In the courtroom were Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye), Hunter Hill, and attorney Bruce Harvey who spoke on behalf of his client Levi Manuel. All three boys have been accused in the shooting death of McKinney that took place on Dec. 4, 2018.

Not in the courtroom during this initial phase was the fourth juvenile accused in the case, Lakota Cloer, and while his attorney Charles Fulcher was present, unlike Harvey, he did not speak to his client’s absence.

After bond was denied in the case of accused shooter Blake Dickey, the courtroom cleared, and Lakota Cloer was brought in. Cloer’s family, along with family members of Justin McKinney, watched as Cloer plead guilty to lesser charges. Emotions were high on both sides.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee spoke first, “We have reached a negotiated plea offer. This is a 3 count felony accusation.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

16 year old Lakota Cloer was arrested in Dec. 2018 for his role in the McKinney murder.

Sosebee explained that family members of the victims had been notified of this deal, and that there had been extensive discussions with defense attorney Fulcher.

The new charges that were agreed upon as part of this arrangement are:

1 Count Aggravated Assault : This charge is in relation to victim Justin McKinney. Cloer is being charged in aiding and abetting in this crime, as well as having knowledge of the crime.

1 County Robbery by Intimidation: This charge is in relation to the motive that ultimately ended in the death of McKinney and the serious injury of Franklin. As with the other charges this applies to Cloer since he engaged in discussion and planning of the crime. Along with aiding and abetting Cloer also admits to providing a gun to co-defendant Levi Manuel.

1 Count Aggravated Assault: This charge is in relation to victim Anna Franklin. Cloer admits guilt to intentionally aiding and abetting in this crime that involved the use of a deadly weapon.

By reaching a plea bargain, Cloer waived several rights including that to have a trial by jury and for his case to be seen in front of a grand jury.

It was revealed during this hearing that Cloer had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been and is currently on medication to combat symptoms. Despite this diagnosis no competency or psychological testing was performed to evaluate Cloer’s state of mind.

Fulcher having spoke with his client, Cloer, on many occasions felt that he was competent to make decisions and said to the court: “I don’t have any concerns whatsoever about his competency. He understands the consequences of the decisions that he makes today.”

Appalachian Judicial District Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver asked Cloer a series of questions to satisfy the court of Cloer’s competency and to have a record of his replies.

Weaver also questioned Cloer’s mother, Amanda McGaha, about her feelings on her son’s mental state and if she felt Cloer understood what was happening in the courtroom. McGaha replied that she was confident that her son understood the proceedings now that he was on proper medication.

Cloer was able to reply clearly to each question asked by Judge Weaver which allowed the proceedings to move forward.

Weaver explained that sentencing for his plea would take place that day, but that a restitution hearing would be scheduled at a later date. A restitution hearing will determine what, if any, payments Cloer will have to pay to the victims for the harm caused by his wrongful acts.

After thoroughly explaining what a plea deal means and giving a detailed account of what rights Cloer would be waiving by pleading guilty and accepting the charges, Weaver asked Cloer, “Has anyone used any force, threat, pressure, or intimidation that caused you to enter this plea?”

Cloer replied, “No, you honor.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Cloer sets alongside accused Levi Manuel at a first appearance in Fannin County.

With that the sentence was handed down.

For the first Count of Aggravated Assault in relation to Justin McKinney, Cloer is sentence to 20 years having to serve 15 of those years in the Georgia State Prison System.

The second Count of Robbery by Intimidation will have Cloer serving 10 years in the Georgia Prison System. This sentence is to run concurrent with the sentencing from Count One.

Lastly, Cloer was sentenced to 20 years of probation for the Aggravated Assault of Anna Franklin. This sentence is to run consecutively with the sentencing from Count One.

Overall, Cloer received a 40 year sentence, 15 of those years to be served in prison with the remaining 25 years to be served on probation.

A victim impact statement prepared by McKinney’s mother, Debra McKinney Bignardi, was read by District Attorney Sosebee.

According to this statement, at the time of McKinney’s murder the family was also dealing with the impending loss of one of McKinney’s nephews “who spent his last days on Earth mourning the loss of his uncle”.

Bignardi was left wondering why. Why the death of her son, why if he had done something wrong that the boys did not feel that he too deserved a fair trial as they were getting.

She noted 6 families were victims of this crime, and that by taking the life of her son, Justin McKinney, that the boys had also in a sense taken their own lives, and that all the families are left to mourn the future.

Bignardi pleaded that the boys be able to find programs while in prison to provide some sort of rehabilitation: “Our hope is that when these young men are released from prison they are not worse off than when they went in.”

After the emotional victim impact statement was read, Judge Weaver spoke to the court, “It is never easy to sentence young people.”

“This is a tragedy in every sense of the word,” Weaver went on and expressed hope that others will learn from this. Weaver stated that she hopes for youth to recognize and stay away from activities that can lead to criminal behavior, and that parents will be more involved in their children’s lives, knowing who they are with and knowing where they are.

Weaver concluded the hearing by saying, “My heart goes out to all of the individuals involved in this case.”

As court was recessed Cloer was allowed to briefly speak to his family. The group shared a very emotional goodbye before Cloer was escorted out of the Fannin County courtroom to begin his sentence for his part in the McKinney murder case.

You can read more about the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

Bond Denied for Accused McKinney Killer

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Bond denied for accused McKinney killer

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – Only one of the four accused in the McKinney murder case sought bond after the preliminary hearing took place in a Fannin County Courtroom.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver presided over the case and as the preliminary hearing came to a close stated, “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The State had met their burden of proof in establishing a case against the boys being charged with Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery. Now the burden of proof fell upon the defense to satisfy reasoning for letting any of the boys out on bond.

Fifteen year old Blake Dickey (also known as Blake Dye) sat alongside his attorney David Farnham as the court began the bond hearing.

Farnham argued that his client, Dickey, should be considered for release, and did in fact satisfy all the factors required by state law in Georgia for this consideration.

According to Farnham, Dickey had no prior convictions and had never been involved in anything violent in his life. If released Dickey did not pose a threat to the community and was not a risk for intimidation of any witnesses.

Farnham went on that if the court granted bond, Dickey would return to school where he would be supervised by a panel of teachers and that Dickey would begin residing with his mother where he would be under constant supervision at home.

Lastly Farnham pointed out that both of Dickey’s parents reside in Fannin County and said, “”He’s not a flight risk, Judge. His entire family is here.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel, Bruce Harvey

Accused Blake Dickey (left) sits next to accused Hunter Hill at a previous hearing.

The Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee stepped in and presented her thoughts regarding the bonding of Dickey.

Sosebee pointed out that prior to the arrest Dickey was residing with the Hill family and added of the boys, “They were in an unsupervised environment, that clearly allows them to travel at will.”

While Farnham had stated his case for release, Sosebee argued that he had failed to present sufficient evidence backing his claims, which is required by Georgia law for cases of this nature: “there has been no evidence presented on behalf of the defendant in this case.”

After hearing both sides, Judge Weaver denied bond for Dickey agreeing that the burden of proof on the defense’s behalf had not been satisfied. Weaver added to this, “The issue of supervision has been in the Court’s mind during most of this hearing.”

Attorney Karen Shelley opted to not file a motion for a bond hearing at the time, leaving her client, accused 15 year old Hunter Hill to remain in a juvenile detention facility for the time being.

A third party in the group of juveniles accused, Levi Manuel, will have a preliminary hearing and possible bond hearing at a later date. This comes from Manuel recently switching his legal representation.

Attorney Bruce Harvey of Atlanta, Ga. will now represent Manuel in the McKinney murder trial. This move came as a surprise to the court and to Manuel’s previous council attorney Andrew Wehunt.

Judge Weaver noted that while she had received Harvey’s appearance filing that she did not see a withdraw from Wehunt, and thought that Wehunt might have been taken off guard by this move.

Harvey, the high profile Atlanta based attorney, has represented his fair share of clients in Manuel’s position and was already making moves in the courtroom as he asked for a delay in Manuel’s first appearance / bond hearing.

According to Harvey, Manuel’s previous council had filed a motion for a psychological and competency evaluation to find out if the boy was capable of standing trial. This evaluation was never completed and Harvey felt that moving forward without this information would not be in his or his client’s best interest.

Judge Weaver along with District Attorney Sosebee agreed to have this testing done and postpone the first appearance hearing. Manuel’s hearing has tentatively been moved to take place on Feb. 18, 2019.

You can read more on the McKinney Murder Case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney Murder Motive Revealed By Prosecution

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

“Pop and Rob”: McKinney murder motive revealed by prosecution

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Blue Ridge, Ga. – The prosecution painted a picture of what took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 2018 that left one Fannin County resident, Justin McKinney, dead and another, Anna Franklin, seriously injured.

According to the state’s findings, the McKinney murder was not a case of revenge but rather a cold blooded, premeditated murder, in which the juveniles involved intended to “pop and rob” the victims.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Special Agent Jamie Abercrombie was assigned to the case when Captain Justin Turner of the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) contacted GBI for assistance with the murder.

Special Agent Abercrombie recalled listening to the 911 call placed by victim Anna Franklin the night of the murder.

“Hunter Hill and Blake Dickey were at her (Franklin’s) residence at the time of the shooting,” Abercrombie said recollecting Franklin’s initial call for help, “and that is how I first learned of Mr. Hill and Dickey.”

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Hunter Hill (15) and Blake Dickey (15) set in a Fannin County Courtroom at a previous appearance.

Both Dickey and Hill knew the victim McKinney well and had been to his home on numerous occasions to buy marijuana.

The scene at 135 Elrod Lane in Morganton, Ga. was laid out, as Abercrombie described walking into the single-wide trailer. The kitchen and living room had an open floor plan and there was a bedroom located on either side of this main area.

After walking up the ramp that led to the front door, Abercrombie said of what she saw when she entered the home, “Mr. McKinney was deceased in the floor of the kitchen area and the wood-stove area.”

There was a single spent 410 shotgun shell located at the scene, and this was the weapon used on McKinney. According to Abercrombie, “He had been shot in the back of the head.”

Franklin who had already been taken to the hospital had been shot through the arm, which she had used to shield her face during the attack, and the bullet, unable to be removed, remains in her neck.

Two .25 caliber shell casings were found at the crime scene. These belonged to the weapon used to attack Anna Franklin.

Abercrombie later learned that a third resident of the home had been present the night of the shooting. Donald Majors was asleep in the second bedroom when the shooting occurred, but having drank heavily before retiring Majors did not even know a shooting had occurred.

“They (FCSO) woke him up. He was asleep in his room and law enforcement woke him up,” Abercrombie told the story of Majors being unable to provide any details of the night during her interview process.

Abercrombie, along with GBI Special Agent Dustin Hamby, located both Dickey and Hill at Fannin County High School the next day, and by coordinating with school staff were able to apprehend the two fifteen year olds in the principal’s office and take them in for questioning.

“He was not truthful with me in the beginning,” Abercrombie said of her interview with Dickey.

After a short time Dickey did tell his story of the night and admitted that he had been the one to kill McKinney with the shotgun. Dickey stated to Abercrombie that they had planned it out and that they had planned to shoot both McKinney and Franklin.

Dickey did claim that the killing was done out of revenge. According to Dickey, McKinney had been selling Hill’s older brother, Logan Hill, methamphetamine (meth) and that Logan had become severely addicted and was injecting the drug.

This addiction had left Logan hospitalized, and McKinney was the one who provided the meth. Dickey was the only juvenile involved that Abercrombie heard this motive from at that time.

Hill who was interviewed by Special Agent Hamby backed up Dickey’s recollection of events, and both boys were arrested on the spot.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee at a previous appearance with defendant Lakota Cloer (16) present.

When left alone with FCSO Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Hill is noted as claiming if given the chance, he would do it again.

Dickey also mentioned that 16 year old Lakota Cloer had driven them to the residence on Elrod Lane. This was the first mention of someone other than Dickey and Hill being involved, but more would come forward that would implicate Cloer as well.

Another individual came forward on night of Wednesday Dec. 5, 2018. Chase Havard voluntarily arrived at the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and told staff that he had information regarding the McKinney murder.

Abercrombie said, “Havard provided a written statement.” The Special Agent also told about how Havard shed light onto the shooter of Franklin.
Havard was visiting a friend, Kevin Shamaty, who resided at the Cloer residence on Dec. 3. It was during this visit that Havard recalled Hill, Dickey, Cloer and another individual, 15 year old Levi Manuel, were discussing the plans to “pop and rob” McKinney.

According to the interview with Havard, Hill said that the four were “going to rob someone who had marijuana and pills” and asked Havard if he wanted in. Hill also told Havard that they were going to shoot everyone there and take whatever they have.

Havard declined and left with friend Shamaty to go to Walmart. Shamaty received a call later that night in the early morning hours of Dec. 4 from Cloer. Cloer stated that he was on Maple Grove Road and was in need of gas.

Havard and Shamaty drove to meet Cloer and gave him gas for his truck. Cloer was by himself and told Havard that he had dropped off Hill, Dickey and Manuel on Elrod Lane.

Having not heard from Manuel, Havard and Cloer went to look for the three. Shamaty parked at a church and waited for Havard to return.

As Havard walked down Elrod Lane, he says that he saw a light and heard “it’s me” in a voice that he recognized as Manuel.

Once back to Cloer’s truck the juveniles, along with Havard, met Shamaty and proceeded back to the Cloer residence.

“Mr. Hill had made statements that everyone was dead,” Abercrombie recalled Havard’s testimony. Havard also stated that Manuel made comments that he had unloaded a clip into the girl and that Hill, who was last out of the residence, stated that he had finished Franklin off and killed Majors.
The boys at this point believed that everyone in the home was deceased.

Havard stated that Manuel was the one who had the .25 caliber handgun, and admitted that he had advised Cloer to dispose of the weapon.

Cloer attempted to scratch off the serial numbers on the handgun before getting rid of the weapon. Shamaty then drove Havard and Cloer to the “cliffs at Nottely Lake” where Cloer threw the gun into the water.

Havard later took FCSO Investigator John Arp and GBI Special Agent Abercrombie to Nottely Lake and showed where the handgun had been thrown. With the help of divers the gun was recovered.

The shotgun was also recovered. Manuel who was residing at the Cloer residence at the time of the murder, gave investigators the gun which had been hidden between the mattresses in his bedroom.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, Murder, 15 Year Old, 16 Year Old, Blake Dickey, Hunter Hill, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court, Judge, Brenda Weaver, Public Defender, Clint Hooker, Attorney, David Farnham, District Attorney, B. Alison Sosebee, Justin McKinney, Anna Franklin, GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Fannin County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center, Fannin Regional Hospital, Drugs, Dalton Manuel, Lakota Cloer, Special Agent, Jamie Abercrombie, Dustin Hamby, Captain, Justin Turner, Investigator, John Arp, Chief Deputy, Major Keith Bosen, Elrod Lane, Maple Grove Road, Chase Havard, Kevin Shamaty, Lakota Cloer, Levi Manuel

Accused Levi Manuel (15) and Lakota Cloer (16) at previous hearing regarding McKinney murder case.

Manuel was later interviewed and told his side of the events that night. He claimed to not know Justin McKinney.

Stepping outside briefly after the three boys entered the home, Manuel said that he heard a gunshot, and rushed back inside. Once inside he saw Dickey standing over McKinney’s body.

At this point Manuel says that he aimed his gun above Anna Franklin and shot. Manuel admits to having shot the gun more than once. According to Abercrombie, Manuel claims “they got scared and ran out and forgot to take anything”.

Much like the Manuel and Havard account, Cloer paints Hill as the mastermind behind the crime, saying that Hill presented the entire idea and said that he knew someone they could “pop and rob”.

According to Abercrombie, Cloer also stated that “Mr. Dickey follows whatever Mr. Hill does”.

“Mr. Cloer knew that pop meant to kill and Mr. Hill made statements they would kill him (McKinney) and take what he had,” Abercrombie told of Cloer’s testimony and added that the boys had intended to steal marijuana and pills.

Cloer says that Hill never mentioned his brother, Logan Hill, never mentioned revenge and did not show any anger about McKinney.

According to Abercrombie, “Mr. Cloer stated that Mr.Hill stated that his motive was specifically to rob McKinney and kill him.”

Cloer admitted to his involvement saying that he did give Manuel the handgun that he later tried to alter and dispose of, and that he was also the driver that dropped the boys off.

After the testimony of GBI Special Agent Abercrombie was complete, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver made the ruling to move forward with the charges against Hill, Dickey, Cloer and Manuel: “The Court does find that probable cause has been established.”

The charges against the accused include Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Battery.

A search warrant was obtained for the 135 Elrod Lane where the crime took place. Marijuana was the only illegal substance found at the home. The juveniles remain in custody awaiting trial.

 

You can read more about the McKinney murder case by following the links below:

Fatal Shooting in Fannin County

Details Emerge Surrounding Murder Case in Fannin County

Two More Arrested in McKinney Murder Case

McKinney Murder. What Happened That Night. FYN Exclusive Interview With Survivor Anna Franklin

 

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